My wife and I purchased a house in 2004, which was our only residence until 2012 when we went to live in Switzerland. The property has been let out since, and the income declared in self-assessment returns. If we sell the property now, what is the calculation for capital gains tax purposes? The house cost £400,000 in 2004 and will now be sold for £800,000. Its value on 5 April 2015 was about £680,000. Is there a double taxation agreement between Switzerland and the UK that might affect any tax payable?
Arthur Weller replies:
Assuming that you have been truly non-UK resident as per the statutory residence test (see HMRC guidance at https://tinyurl.com/HMRC-SRT-RDR3) and you are still non-UK resident, you will be assessable to capital gains tax (CGT) on the gain from April 2015 onwards. Assuming you sell in April 2021 for £800,000, your gain will be £120,000, or £20,000 per year (six years). The last nine months’ ownership is exempt due to the principal private residence relief final period exemption, which will reduce the gain by £15,000 to £105,000 (i.e. £52,500 for each of you and your wife). You both have a CGT annual exemption to reduce this gain. See HMRC’s guidance at , Example 1. The UK Swiss double tax agreement will help to reduce the amount of Swiss tax you have to pay.